Issue: December 2003
Manufacturer: Princess Yachts
Ninety nine point nine per cent of the boats that appear in Modern Boating Dreamboat tests – as the strap head implies are normally large and luxurious cruisers, designed more for cruising in style and comfort than for overall performance. And for most of us they will remain merely a dream, because of their expensive price tag, so I suppose that’s what’s so great about my job. At least I get to play with them even if I do have to hand them back at the end of the day. And while many luxury cruisers rely on their levels of comfort and fittings to win over buyers, every now and then a luxury motoryacht comes along that’s a bit different.
The Princess V58 is one such boat, she still has all the levels of luxury and standard of fittings as the other contenders, but she can also boast sportboat-like performance. Even though she’s a weighty lady at 20 tonnes dry, fitted with twin 800hp MAN diesels, she was still capable of topping 36 knots fuelled and ready to roll.
Engine options range from twin 615hp Volvo Penta D12s; standard fitment is two 730hp MANs, while maximum recommended power is twin 1050hp MAN diesels. And considering her performance with twin 800hp engines, twin 1050s would be awesome. But it wasn’t only the boat’s top end speed, which was good for a boat of this size, it was her silky smooth, quiet and precise handling that would be indelibly planted in the minds of the Modern Boating Team.
The handling was so precise it was literally a case of turn the helm a couple of centimetres and you could immediately see the bow move a couple of centimetres in that direction. Smooth is not a strong enough adjective to describe the feel of the steering, which was of course complimented by precise electronic engine controls, the steering was exceptional. There I was behind the wheel of almost 60 feet of luxury cruiser and it handled like a ski boat. Even the V58’s turning circle leaves other 58 footers (pardon the pun) in her wake.
The boat leans into turns like a 20-foot monohull, while having props in the mini tunnels formed between the large chines and the keel, eliminates tail slippage and help her props bite the water hard. Push the throttle firmly forward and the electronic engine controls bring the hull onto the plane quickly and if not pulled back will continue to accelerate up to 36 knots at 2200rpm.
Obviously, this would not be conducive with economical fuel economy, but pulling her back to 15 knots at 1350rpm almost halves the amount of fuel being burned. An ideal cruise speed for the V58 was 21 knots at 1800rpm. This boat also has an extremely sharp bow entry, so the hull slices through the water cleanly, while the tunnels formed between the second strakes and down-turned chines also aid lateral stability and straight-line tracking.
She’s an extremely seaworthy and dry boat. But it isn’t only her performance and handling that make this boat a real winner. Like all sportscruisers, her rear cockpit is designed for entertaining and outdoor living and in the case of the V58, this cockpit is enormous, but more on that later, because her design also allows for plenty of living room below decks. Walk down the stairs into the main saloon and you’ll find it’s bright, four large portholes let plenty of natural light into the cabin, and open plan.
A beautiful handmade-wooden table surrounded by an equally beautiful semicircular leather lounge, is to port facing the bar, sound system and flat plasma TV mounted on the wall above the cabinet. Two bar stools, which are stored in an underfloor locker when not in use, are employed for people sitting around the right side of the dining table. The cook will love the fully functional galley, which is positioned along the starboard side of the main saloon forward of the main bathroom. It features a two-burner stove, ample bench space, above bench and under bench storage cabinets, a concealed fridge/freezer, sink with mixer tap and a microwave/conventional oven and grill.
The guest’s stateroom is positioned in the bow. It is also luxuriously finished has its own en suite, TV and hanging locker. The main stateroom is almost identical to the guests, but it is slightly larger and sited under the helm floor. Some purchasers opt to remove the wall separating this cabin from the smaller third cabin, fitted with double bunks, to increase the overall room in the main stateroom. Moving back up to the helm station, needless to say this boat is fitted with comprehensive instrumentation and a top-of-theline Raymarine electronics package radar, GPS Chartplotter, Auto Pilot and the list goes on and on. Every electronic aid a skipper could wish for is in the basic package.
Above the helm station is a semi-hardtop with an opening vinyl sunroof for those wishing to soak up a few rays. A dual helm seat and L-shaped lounge to port allows passengers to keep the skipper in the conversation loop. Behind the helm seats is another large, U-shaped lounge surrounding a rectangular table. With the wet bar and sink opposite this area, it normally becomes the centre of the entertaining scene.
The hydraulically operated tender garage lid is covered with a large sunpad, ideal for the sun lovers onboard, while the wide swim platform makes the ideal launching platform for waterborne activities. Out on the foredeck is another sunpad that is surrounded by a hip height bowrail for the added security of people moving about on the bow. With a price tag of $1.95 million, the Princess V58 is by no means an inexpensive boat, but you tell me where you can by a five-star luxury home overlooking Sydney Harbour for that sort of money. Her magnificent joinery, eye catching sleek lines, glimmering white gelcoat, teak decks and polished stainless steel metal work combine to complete this stylish package.
To list any negatives about this boat would be purely nit picking. Her opulent finish and standard of workmanship is first class. The aft cockpit and below deck areas maximise the use of all available space and her layout is purely functional. And remember, when you get sick of the view surrounding this floating home you can simply weigh anchor and move to another idyllic location. The V58 sports cruiser is truly a jewel in Princess Motoryachts crown.
Words Ian Macrae